Rock & Folk Rekindled, Stills & Collins

Photographed by: A. Arthur Fisher
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Stills nailed the leads while Collins voice was as smooth as a new pair of silk stockings. Don’t let the humorous stories they told of days gone by fool you. These aren’t has-beens. The duo, backed by a three-piece band, hammered out some great tunes, played magnificently.

If you’re keen on tracks from the 60's & 70’s, you got your fill. Stills & Collins played a collection of touching and superb covers from bands like the Traveling Wilburys, Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and of course Crosby, Stills & Nash. The show was a “best of” love fest, pun intended. Yes, Stills and Collins were famously lovers early in their careers as musicians. Judy's name graces Stephen's renown "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." And Stephen is the subject of Judy's song, "Houses."

Collins stuck to her twelve string acoustic for most of the show, ditching it occasionally only to focus on vocals. Stills switched guitars often. He still bangs out on his Gretsch hollow body electric but switches among at least three different Fender Stratocasters.

The band filled in with a Fender bass, a full drum kit and a keyboardist behind a clear sound shield. This trio jumped off their instruments to sing backup vocals for Stills during his solo of CSN’s "Seen Enough." Stills carried the rest of the song with his guitar and voice. The presentation was fantastic; I pictured Bob Dylan in Stephen's seat as it's easy to believe Dylan must have influenced this tune.

Stephen's voice possesses a warm and delicate raspiness. It's his signature sound, and it compliments his guitar work beautifully. The combination just works. His repertoire of musical compositions is legendary, and you can tell when you see him play.

Stills took a beat as Collins beautifully performed the heart-felt Joni Mitchell tune, “Both Sides Now.” She drew the entire theatre to its feet for a loud ovation. Collins and Stills together easily best the sum of their individual qualities, yet it’s in Judy's vocal solos that one can appreciate her incredible range and expressive control. Clearly, it's that rare talent which has sustained her through decades of great performances.

This show really caught me off guard. These are musician's musicians, who can bring it, every time. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding was suite.


Set list:

Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys cover)
So Begins the Task (Manassas cover)
River of Gold (Buffalo Springfield cover)
Virtual World (The Rides cover)
Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen cover)
Girl From the North Country (Bob Dylan cover)
Seen Enough (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover)
Both Sides, Now (Joni Mitchell cover)
Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)
Southern Cross (Stephen Stills)
Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny cover)
Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell cover)
For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)
Bluebird (Buffalo Springfield cover)
Houses (Judy Collins)
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)

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